Kevin De Bruyne, Vincent Kompany and Fabian Delph are ruled out for the Manchester City trip to Tottenham on Sunday (2 October) but Pep Guardiola suggests the trio may be ready to return to action after the international break, with a home game against Everton coming only before their Champions League crucial clash at Barcelona. The Spanish boss will be also without Nolito as his compatriot will serve the last game of his three-game ban against the North London side.
De Bruyne already missed the 3-3 draw with Celtic after suffering a hamstring injury during the last Premier League victory over Swansea. First reports suggested that the Manchester City key star could be out of action for around a month but Guardiola already earlier this week suggested that the injury was not as bad as first thought.
The case of his compatriot Kompany is different. The injury-plagued centre-back sustained a groin issue during the EFL Cup win over the Wales side, when he was making his first appearance for the club in nearly five months.
Meanwhile, Delph is yet to play a game since the second leg of the Champions League play-off against Steaua Bucarest on 24 August.
Guardiola has confirmed that the trip to Tottenham will still come too early for them but was positive about having all them back for after the international break.
"We have ten days [after Spurs] which will help us – we need most of them back. The same with Delph. I don't know – maybe two or three weeks they will be ready. I don't know if they will be ready for Everton or for Barcelona – we'll see next time.
"The injuries are not so, so tough as they seemed in the first impression. Usually a muscle injury is a month but we're going to wait and see."
Suspended Nolito will also miss the White Hart Lane game but Guardiola is confident his side could get a positive result against Spurs, following the midweek unexpected set-back against Celtic which ended the Spanish boss's perfect start to life at Manchester City.
Guardiola admits the draw has proved to City that there is still much work to do as his side conceded three easy goals. In this sense, the manager may opt to recall John Stone to lead the back-line after he was rested against Brendan Rodgers' side.
"Everything is so difficult in football. I think they arrived three or four chances, they scored three goals – that's the Champions League. The players are so focused as they know how special the competition is," Guardiola said about the draw with Celtic. "There were many things – the first goal was offside, the second was an own goal – that's part of the game. I would prefer to lose points in the Premier League as you have time to make them back but the Champions League is short – in the last three games, you have to make four points.
"If not it will be so difficult to go through. It showed us our core principles, our build-up, our high pressing was not good in that game – we have to work on that."